Data may be vulnerable, but it helps decision-makers better than ignorance

Someone in a law firm or law department can pick apart any presentation of data.  All numbers, let alone the analyses and presentations of those numbers, are vulnerable to a range of questions such as about their completeness, ambiguity, consistency, and validity.  “Like all statistical measurements, [government data on employment] can be both honest and imprecise; a best estimate given the available tools but nonetheless subject to ambiguity, misinterpretation and error,” points out The NY Times, Nov. 4, 2016 at B4.  The data legal managers should request and absorb before they pull the trigger can also be attacked.

The old saying, “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness” reminds us that any well-intentioned data sheds more light than the total darkness of ignorance, supposition or ideology.  Try to gather numbers that can illuminate some aspect of a decision and you will be better off, even if someone who disagrees with your decision criticizes the data.  The criticisms might be correct and might have to go back and do a better job collecting, defining, parsing or visualizing the underlying data.

But, it is better to have “data’ed and lost than to never have data’ed at all” (sorry, Tennyson).

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